I applied for a job recently. A job that would be interesting, challenging, and only one day a week. Maybe I could cope with that?
In fact, there were loads of jobs- 3 of our local health organisations were looking for non executive directors for their boards, and one application process for about 15 jobs. I wasn’t really expecting to get an interview, but I was putting my money where my mouth is. I keep saying that all these organisations should have patients at all levels…
Time marched on and I heard nothing, so after the summer I assumed I’d not been shortlisted for interview, and would hear eventually.
Then one day I got three letters, signed by the same person. Each told me I hadn’t been selected for interview by one of the organisations. Each included the results of marking by a panel, ideal for strengthening future applications. Except each panel rejected me for different reasons.
One application form.
One set of criteria.
Three selection panels.
Three different interpretations of the criteria.
Three rejection letters (in my case).
Up to three different interviews (for others).
Are you confused too?
I’ve just looked at the seven principles for public appointments and laughed. There is more to do on this one…
Given that I was rejected for 3 different reasons, and didn’t know where to start beefing up an application, I asked for the full mark sheets.
Be careful what you wish for.
Criterion 1 Business Sense
‘acceptable’, ‘weak’, ‘meets requirements’, ‘does not meet the requirements’
Criterion 2 Corporate Governance
‘limited relevant evidence’, ‘some understanding’, ‘good examples’, ‘limited experience of influence over information in a governance situation’.
(I accept that me not understanding what that last point even means probably rules me out of the position.)
Criterion 3 Stakeholder Engagement
‘highlights range of methods & activities where partnerships were key’, ‘no evidence of partnership arrangements’, ‘limited engagement demonstrated’, ‘clearly acceptable evidence provided’, ‘good examples provided’.
Criterion 4 Self Awareness and Personal Contribution
‘candidate shows a limited sense of self and authority but shows a willingness to challenge and speak out’, ‘acceptable’, ‘evidence of understanding’, ‘limited specific evidence’
Clearly, none of the three panels rated me. Also, I have work to do on my applications, but it is instructive how different the comments were. On each panel there was a member who either wrote nothing at all, or simply ‘weak’, ‘adequate’, ‘limited’.
Soon, I will have regrouped and have a plan. In the meantime I’m wondering how this process helps promote the patient voice or increases the diversity of our boards.
And I need to develop some resilience. I am not ‘weak’. I just haven’t developed the right language yet.